First of all, Up is not a movie about a cranky old coot who, with the help of a roly-poly Boy Scout, finds his inner child during a series of magical adventures experienced from the front porch of a dilapidated manse held aloft by hundreds of helium-filled balloons. Such, of course, is the perception advanced by promotional materials, which sell short the latest Pixar picture and can't prepare you for the emotional punch of its first few minutes, when it presents the most heartfelt—the most sincere—love story in recent memory: the love between a boy and a girl, who become a man and a woman, who become a husband and a wife, who become a widower and a memory that haunts the rest of what follows. Rest assured, it gets funny. And thrilling, too, as the third act takes place almost entirely in the sky, atop a mammoth zeppelin piloted by a hero-turned-villain. But despite its title, Up is decidedly earthbound: The elderly Carl (voiced by Ed Asner) spends almost the entire movie schlepping his house across the South American landscape his wife had always hoped to visit. Joined by a young boy (Jordan Nagai) in need of company too, Carl's literally tethered to a memory, an anchor with a garden hose wrapped around his torso to keep his home from floating away. (Note: Do not see Up in 3-D. It's inessential to the story and altogether distracting.)
Old man Carl keeps the movie grounded.
Opens at Neptune and other theaters, Fri., May 29. Rated PG. 98 minutes.